Connect Montreux with Interlaken without changing trains thanks to new technology –

A first train was able to connect Gstaad with Interlaken in one train without changing in Zweisimmen. A performance made possible by a revolutionary technology: the bogie with variable track width.

It took 120 years for the dream of the founders of the Montreux Bernese Oberland (MOB) to come true. One of the MOB convoys drove into Interlaken for the first time.

The idea of ​​connecting Lake Geneva, Gstaad and Lake Thun and Lake Brienz arose in the 1870s. But between Montreux and Zweisimmen the tracks are ultimately built differently, with a gauge of 1 meter, while the tracks between Zweisimmen and Interlaken, ie with a gauge of 1,435 meters.

This difference forced travelers who wanted to connect Montreux with Interlaken to change in Zweisimmen.

Revolutionary technology

The desire to bring these major sights together surfaced several times, in particular with the establishment of the GoldenPass Association, which was founded in the 1920s, and as early as the 1930s, consideration was given to building a third rail to move from palm trees to glaciers to get. a single milking.

Ultimately, it is a revolutionary technology that will make it possible to overcome the obstacle: bogies with variable gauge.

With this installation it is not only possible to change the track width of the vehicle by more than 40 centimeters, but also to adapt the construction height to the height of the platforms. This is a world first.

This installation makes it possible to change the track width of the vehicle by more than 40 cm, but also to adapt the construction height to the height of the platforms. [RTS]

The very first MOB panorama train crossed Zweisimmen a few days ago as a link between the various rail networks. The maneuver only takes a few seconds. First the wagon box is raised so that the unloaded wheels can move away. The train just has to slow down a little when changing.

Growth potential

For the MOB, the passage through Zweisimmen is not only a technological achievement, but also an enormous development potential. Because the Montreux Bernese Oberland with its breathtaking landscapes is a magnet for tourists. This section already represents 80% of the passengers on the GoldenPass line. Thanks to the direct connection to Interlaken, they should be even more numerous.

“Today we have about 2.5 million passengers, we plan to increase to 4 million. We feel a great interest in distant markets such as China, Taiwan, India or Korea,” lists the door. – Speaking of MOB Jérôme Gachet.

Swiss made

These tourists who cross the Swiss landscapes between Montreux and Interlaken will do so on Swiss trains. The bodies are manufactured by Stadler in Thurgau, while the famous lane changing bogies are produced by Alstom in Villeneuve (VD).

For the latter, this prestigious order has something encouraging. The French multi just announced the shedding of 150 jobs at its Vaudois location. “We are very proud to welcome this project to our workshops in Villeneuve. We can speak of an extraordinary bogie in the sense of a world first, ”says a delighted Valérie Fiegenwald, Head of Maintenance for Rail Vehicles at Alstom.

With a total investment of 90 million francs, we have to wait until December 2022 to get from the shores of Lake Geneva to Lake Brienz.

Nicolas Rossé / fme